Why women make great leadersA bit about meWhat is changing in the world of organisations?What about women?What about leadership?
Me Currently the only female Secretary General of a Government Department 3rd female Secretary General in the history of the State Variously described as “hugely ambitious”, “tough as nails”, “always determined to break through the glass ceiling”, and “always immaculately turned out” Married, two children BComm. & MSc in Public Sector Analysis
Career Career civil servant since age of 17 Served in Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Departments of Public Service, Department Finance and Social Welfare Defining stint in Management Training & Development in 1980s Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Tanaiste, Department of Tourism, Sport & Recreation Secretary General Department of Marine & Natural Resources and now Department of Transport
“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”—General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army
“The period 2000-2002 will bring the single greatest change in worldwide economic and business conditions since we came down from the trees.”David Schneider & Grady Means, MetaCapitalism
“The corporation as we know it, which is now 120 years old, is not likely to survive the next 25 years. Legally and financially, yes, but not structurally and economically.”Peter Drucker, Business 2.0 (08.00)
The New Economy …Shout goodbye to “command and control”!Shout goodbye to hierarchy!Shout goodbye to “knowing one’s place”!
2010 “Demographics”:By 2010, full-time workers will be in the minoritySource: MIT study (28-08-00)
“Strategy meetings held once or twice a year” to “Strategy meetings needed several times a week.”–Meg Whitman, CEO, eBay
Forget>“Learn”“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.”Dee Hock
“It is generally much easier to kill an organization than change it substantially.” Kevin Kelly, Out of Control
“There’s no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”Lewis Carroll
The greatest dangerfor most of usis not that our aim istoo highand we miss it,but that it istoo lowand we reach it.Michelangelo
Message: Everything is up for grabs. Chaos = Opportunity. Always has. This is the ideal moment for the next Giant Step for women.
“Greater opportunity for women is probably the most significant gain for human freedom in the last century.”Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic
“Tomorrow belongs to women.”Helen Fisher, The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World
“On average, women and men possess a number of different innate skills. And current trends suggest that many sectors of the twenty-first-century economic community are going to need the natural talents of women.”Helen Fisher, The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World
Women’s Strengths Match New Economy Imperatives: Link [rather than rank] workers; favor interactive-collaborative leadership style [empowerment beats top-down decision making]; sustain fruitful collaborations; comfortable with sharing information; see redistribution of power as victory, not surrender; favor multi-dimensional feedback; value technical & interpersonal skills, individual & group contributions equally; readily accept ambiguity; honor intuition as well as pure “rationality”; inherently flexible; appreciate cultural diversity.Source: Judy B. Rosener, America’s Competitive Secret
“Women have many exceptional faculties bred in deep history: a talent with words; a capacity to read non-verbal cues; emotional sensitivity; empathy; patience; an ability to do and think several things simultaneously; a gift for networking and negotiating; an ability to take the long view; and a gift for cooperating, reaching consensus and leading via egalitarian teams.”Helen Fisher, The First Sex
Women’s Natural Talents and the New World of WorkInteractive style of managementProclivity to share informationNeed to strive for group consensusDesire to empower workersComfort with ambiguitySeek win-win solutions to thorny problemsSource: Helen Fisher, The First Sex
“The ‘Connection Proclivity’ in women starts early. When asked, ‘How was school today?’ a girl usually tells her mother every detail of what happened, while a boy might grunt, ‘Fine.’ ”EVEolution
“TAKE THIS QUICK QUIZ: Who manages more things at once? Who puts more effort into their appearance? Who usually takes care of the details? Who finds it easier to meet new people? Who asks more questions in a conversation? Who is a better listener? Who has more interest in communication skills? Who is more inclined to get involved? Who encourages harmony and agreement? Who has better intuition? Who works with a longer ‘to do’ list? Who enjoys a recap to the day’s events? Who is better at keeping in touch with others?”Source: Selling Is a Woman’s Game: 15 Powerful Reasons Why Women Can Outsell Men, Nicki Joy & Susan Kane-Benson
For light relief read: Barbara & Allan Pease’s Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
“It is obvious to a woman when another woman is upset, while a man generally has to physically witness tears or a temper tantrum or be slapped in the face before he even has a clue that anything is going on. Like most female mammals, women are equipped with far more finely tuned sensory skills than men.” Barbara & Allan Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
“A woman knows her children’s friends, hopes, dreams, romances, secret fears, what they are thinking, how they are feeling. Men are vaguely aware of some short people also living in the house.”Barbara & Allan Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
“As a hunter, a man needed vision that would allow him to zero in on targets in the distance … whereas a woman needed eyes to allow a wide arc of vision so that she could monitor any predators sneaking up on the nest. This is why modern men can find their way effortlessly to a distant pub, but can never find things in fridges, cupboards or drawers.”Barbara & Allan Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
“Female hearing advantage contributes significantly to what is called ‘women’s intuition’ and is one of the reasons why a woman can read between the lines of what people say. Men, however, shouldn’t despair. They are excellent at imitating animal sounds.”Barbara & Allan Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
“When a woman is upset, she talks emotionally to her friends; but an upset man rebuilds a motor or fixes a leaking tap.”Barbara & Allan Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
“Women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy, and men speak and hear a language of status and independence. Men communicate to obtain information, establish their status, and show independence. Women communicate to create relationships, encourage interaction, and exchange feelings.”Judy Rosener, America’s Competitive Secret
“I only really understand myself, what I’m really thinking and feeling, when I’ve talked it over with my circle of female friends. When days go by without that connection, I feel like a radio playing in an empty room.”Anna Quindlen
“AS LEADERS, WOMEN RULE: New Studies find that female managers outshine their male counterparts in almost every measure”Title, Special Report, Business Week, 20.11.00
Opportunity! U.S.G.B.E.U.Ja. M.Mgt. 41% 29% 18% 6% T.Mgt. 4% 3% 2% <1% Peak Partic. Age 45 22 27 19 % Coll. Stud. 52% 50% 48% 26% Source: Judy Rosener, America’s Competitive Secret
Top Management: the “rule of three”Source: Judy Rosener, America’s Competitive Secret
Leaders-Teachers Do Not “Transform People”!Instead leaders-mentors-teachers (1) provide a contextwhich is marked by (2)access to a luxuriant portfolio of meaningful opportunities(projects) which (3) allow people to fully(and safely, mostly—caveat: “they” don’t engage unless they’re “mad about something”)express their innate curiosity and (4) engage in a vigorous discovery voyage(alone and in small teams, assisted by an extensive self-constructed network) by which those people (5) go to-create places they(and their mentors-teachers-leaders)had never dreamed existed—and then the leaders-mentors-teachers (6)applaud like hell, stage “photo-ops,” and ring the church bells 100 times to commemorate the bravery of their “followers’ ” explorations!
Joe J. Jones 1942 – 2002 HE WOULDA DONE SOME REALLY COOL STUFF BUT … HIS BOSS WOULDN’T LET HIM!
2.Great Leaders on Snorting Steeds Are Important – butGreat Talent Developersare the Bedrock of Organizations that Perform Over the Long Haul.
The Top 5 “Revelations”Better talent wins.Talent management is my job as leader.Talented leaders are looking for the moon and stars.Over-deliver on people’s dreams – they are volunteers.Pump talent in at all levels, from all conceivable sources, all the time.Source: Ed Michaels et al., The War for Talent
“The first and greatest imperative of command is to be present in person. Those who impose risk must be seen to share it.”—John Keegan, The Mask of Command